Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Former deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi got paid SGD200k-520k per month in cash for 5 years in relation to Foreign Visa System contract, court told
Serba Dinamik CEO:"hidden hands" caused its legal troubles. AWS making major investment in MY this year, pending incentives negotiation. Elon Musk's USD125 bil SpaceX to be most valuable private co.
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Let’s start your coffee break with the Term of the Day: failing upwards
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
15x - the rise in hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in Malaysia compared to the same period as last year. Malaysia recorded 31,661 HFMD as of 14 May, vs 2,121 cases last year.
USD125 bil — the implied valuation of Elon Musk’s SpaceX based on the price its employees are selling their shares via a private placement, set to make it the most valuable private company, overtaking fintech giant Stripe’s USD115 bill valuation in its most recent secondary sale.
100,000 people — the number of people reported as disappeared in Mexico hit a record high since tracking started in 1964, with most of the disappearances occurring since 2007 when the then-president launched his war on drugs. Most of the missing people are believed to be victims of organised crimes that went unpunished.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Updates from the corruption trial of UMNO president and former deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi:
Former director of Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) Harry Lee Vui Khun told the court that his company paid cash monthly to the former deputy PM.
Payments were made from 2014 to 2018 in relation to the Foreign Visa System (VLN) contract.
Payments started in late 2014 at SGD200,000 per month until mid-2015, Zahid requested for it to be increased and it went up to SGD520,000 per month in 2017.
The payment was delivered to Zahid’s house in Country Heights Kajang about “40 times in 4 years”.
Lee explained the contribution started with Zahid indicating that he needed them for political funds and asked Lee to assist him in matters relating to UMNO. Zahid never mentioned the amount he wanted, although he did say he wanted it in cash and SGD.
On top of the monthly contributions, Lee told the court that UKSB also sponsored Zahid’s overseas trips, his wife’s birthday and Hari Raya celebrations.
Another prosecution witness told the court that Zahid extended the contract for the VLN project, although the existing contract was valid for another three years.
In Najib Razak’s 1MDB-Tanore trial, former 1MDB chairman Mohd Bakke Salleh told the court Najib asked Bakke to meet the former Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman to get ‘guidelines’ for his testimony to the PAC in 2016 in order to safeguard the former PM’s name and avoid mentioning Jho Low.
Bakke also told the court that during the PetroSaudi International Ltd JV signing ceremony 13 years ago, he was “accompanied and monitored” by a 1MDB employee who followed him everywhere, even to the toilet.
The approved permit (AP) to import foodstuffs into the country will be removed with immediate effect to ensure sufficient food supply in the country, enabling all parties, regardless of genetic advantage, to participate in this part of the food value chain. Malaysia records over RM50 bil worth of food imports annually.
Amazon Web Services has received approval from the Malaysian government to invest in the country and is expected to make a major investment this year to develop data centres in the country. This is still subject to negotiation on incentives AWS requested. AWS already has a presence in Singapore, and in Dec 2021, it announced that it would invest USD5 bil in Indonesia over the next 15 years.
Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd CEO Abdul Karim Abdullah said in an interview with The Malaysian Insight that its troubles with the authorities were caused by “hidden hands” that wanted to “remove him from the corporate scene”. He denied all the allegations against SB and him. Karim refused to reveal the names of the alleged perpetrators behind the plot to take him down, adding that reports had been lodged with the authorities.
Genting tycoon Lim Kok Thay is back in the cruise business. Resorts World Cruises, headquartered in Singapore, will start sailing from Singapore on 15 June, deploying Genting Dream, a ship once operated by troubled Genting Hong Kong. The new company will be recruiting 1,600 employees and has rehired 70 of 100 former staff of Genting HK. Lim Kok Thay is currently funding the business and is “looking for investors”. Genting HK, a casualty of the pandemic, has filed to wind up its business.
Private equity firm Creador founder Brahmal Vasudevan and spouse Shanthi Kandiah have pledged to donate RM50 mil to construct an RM330 mil not-for-profit teaching hospital at the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) Kampar campus in Perak. RM201 mil has been donated and pledged so far. Creador is the PE firm that was instrumental in the success of brands like Mr DIY and CTOS Digital. Creador in June last year took a 30% stake in Loob Holding Sdn Bhd, the owner of bubble tea brand Tealive, for a [rice between RM200-260 mil.
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4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Allianz SE pleaded guilty to criminal securities fraud and agreed to pay more than USD6 bil over the collapse of a group of investment funds during the Covid-19 pandemic. Allianz had been accused of misleading pension funds by understating the funds’ risk and having “significant gaps” in its oversight.
The fund lost more than USD7 bil of its USD11 bil assets under management as the pandemic roiled the markets. This settlement is among the largest in corporate history and is close to twice the USD3.3 bil in corporate penalties the US Justice Department collected in 2021.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the flight controls of the China Eastern Airlines flight 5735 that crashed on 21 Mar had pushed the plane to dive, suggesting a deliberate dive. The investigating authorities had not released the details of the probe to any media outlet, nor did they confirm nor deny WSJ’s report. A retired aircraft accident investigator said although it's a plausible explanation, there is other information to rely on, such as cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, to build a picture versus a single source of information.
Your IT colleagues might not be who they claim to be. North Korea has been sending thousands of IT workers worldwide disguised as other nationalities in order to get jobs and fund its nuclear weapons program. The North Korean government withholds 90% of the wages going towards its causes. These IT workers seek jobs in certain tech fields such as mobile game development, graphic animations, dating apps and even building cryptocurrency platforms.
The US Department of Justice alleged that Trump advisor and casino tycoon Steve Wynn was a Chinese agent who lobbied on behalf of China. A court document filed by the Department claimed that Wynn had been in communication with an ex-PRC official from June to August 2017, where he “engaged in political activities” on China’s behalf. Company execs that pushed policies and diplomatic favours at the behest of other nations would need to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which Wynn did not do.
Sri Lanka has run out of petrol — the country is down to its last day of petrol. Newly appointed PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the country needed USD 75 million to pay for essential imports such as medicine and fuel. The government also ran out of cash and is resorting to money-printing to pay its 1.4 mil civil servants.
A British MP was arrested over suspicions of multiple sexual offences. The unnamed man in his 50s was suspected of indecent assault, sexual assault, rape and other misconduct offences more than a decade ago. He was later released on bail.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Feeling sorry for people in Kelantan. Nothing really works properly there under the PAS-led government.
A creative solution to hiring problem.